Oct. 27 is first public meeting on downtown’s future.
Roanoke, VA – The City of Roanoke’s Department of Planning, Building, and Development is currently in the process of updating the Downtown Plan. Public meetings to gather input will be held on Oct. 27 and Nov. 28 at the City Market Building beginning at 6 p.m.
The department is looking for input and ideas from citizens to help update the vision for the downtown area for the next 20 years. The plan will seek to address the rise of downtown living and the importance of public spaces and amenities. It will also focus on successful small businesses, major employers, and other initiatives that help establish downtown Roanoke as a reg
Congress and Diapers need changing say Donna and Sandy Smith of Roanoke County
Nary a disruption or ill-mannered disrespectful sign could be found. Some signs were funny, some serious and some analogous to their feelings about being Taxed Enough Already (TEA). The question is did the estimated 500 people file their federal tax forms on this symbolic April 15 TEA day?
Roanoke City resident Blake Medding was anxious to voice his dissatisfaction with the status quo saying, “the word entitlement is the worst word ever invented.” Medding wasn’t quite sold on the Fair Tax however. The radical tax reform does away with the income tax and replaces it with a consumption tax.
Crystal Kelly, 18 of Roanoke County is the youngest member of the 2nd Tuesday Constitution Group – a wing of the Tea Party. She waved her “don’t tread on me” flag proudly saying, “we’re like a big family.” Their numbers are growing and have reached about 30-45 members Kelly guessed. She said she use to vote like her parents but is learning to think for herself. For fun the group goes to a shooting range in Franklin County but she doesn’t own a rifle yet – “not until I know all the rules,” said Kelly.
Greg Aldridge, board member and public relations director kept the speakers moving in their allotted time slots while president Chip Tarbutton queued the guests. Tarbutton estimated the crowd peaked shortly after 6:00 pm at 1000 participants. John Lawless, treasurer and board member said, “Everyone wants to come talk to us – that shows you the power.”
Senator Ralph Smith made an appearance but did not take the stage. However he had encouraging words and advice for young candidate Mike Powell.
Mike Powell, Republican candidate for Roanoke city council was pumped. This was his crowd and they showed their support with frequent applause. Powell saw no need to increase the meals tax to fund the schools. He concluded, “the people on city council don’t know how to run the city like a business.”
Signs speak for themselves
Aldridge pleaded with the crowd to support Powell and get out disenfranchised Roanoke voters. It will “freak them out” when Powell wins he proclaimed referring to Roanoke’s current power structure.
Ben Ward owner of The Isaacs restaurant and Mezé World Café spoke about the burden that tax collection puts on businesses. He’d rather concentrate on cooking – “Why does it have to so complicated,” he asked?
Eighth district House majority leader Morgan Griffith spoke on the history of taxation comparing the past Boston Tea Party to the current day Tea Party movement. Griffith is opposing Democrat Rick Boucher for Congress in the 9th District.
Off stage Griffith said he’s been criss-crossing the district and had just come from a Tea Party in Bluefield. Griffith isn’t worried about living a stones-throw from the 9th district. Under the U.S. Constitution you only have to be a resident of the Commonwealth.
“I believe people would prefer somebody that may sleep 30 feet outside the district that votes like he is a Southwest Virginian instead of a San Franciscan,” said Griffith. He added that, “Boucher has not done the job on jobs [either].”
Griffith calculates that with redistricting 65,000 people will move into the 9th district by 2011. That Griffith is certain will include his own residence. With two small children to consider he’s willing to “take the hit” by not moving to the 9th district. He’ll wait for the ninth to come to him.
Politics can be rough on family life and Griffith was sympathetic to Senator Craig Deeds’ recent divorce from his wife. “He’s a good man – I don’t agree with him on allot of issues.” Griffith was sorry to see what he was going through.